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Council projects

Ongoing projects

  • Blackwater Sewer Inspection Program - Sewer smoking

    Council is currently undertaking a sewer smoking program in Blackwater to help assess the sewer network.

    The work is scheduled to commence in late July 2020 and is intended to continue for up to ten weeks.

    Council has previously conducted a mail-out to all residents of Blackwater, advising of the sewer smoking program, and immediately prior to the sewer smoking program beginning in each particular area a notification flyer is being provided to residents via a letterbox drop. The mail-out and flyer provide notice of the program and some information to residents, however additional information can be accessed here in the following frequently asked questions.

    What is sewer smoking?

    Sewer smoking is a technique used to find where stormwater is entering the sewer network during wet weather. A specialised non-toxic smoke is pumped into the sewer network via the sewer maintenance holes. Smoke will then move through the sewer network and escape through sewer maintenance holes and sewer vents, which are usually located on the roofs of dwellings and structures. Smoke coming out of stormwater downpipes, roof guttering of buildings all indicate potential illegal or incorrect stormwater connection into the sewer. Smoke coming up from the ground may indicate cracks or defects in the buried sewer pipe.

    What will I see the sewer smoking team doing during the program?

    During the sewer smoking program you may see contractors lifting manholes, using smoke machine to pump smoke into the sewer network, and conducting inspections to identify where smoke may be escaping from the sewer network. The team will be clearly marked and temporary signs will be placed in the area indicating that sewer smoking is in progress.

    Will the sewer smoking team need to access my property?

    To undertake this sewer smoking, the team may need access to the external areas of your property. You do not have to do anything to assist the team members, but Council requests that you provide them with safe and unobstructed access to any sewer infrastructure on your property. For the health and safety of the team any pets, particularly dogs, will need to be restrained.

    Please contact us if you need to make any special arrangements for our visit e.g. if you have a security system, or locked gates.

    If the team need to access your property, they will knock to see if you are home and if not, the notice of entry letter authorises the team to enter as per section 36 of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act. The team members will enter your property as “authorised persons” only for the purpose of the sewer smoking program e.g. accessing manholes and inspecting for smoke.

    Will this testing disrupt my water and sewer services?

    There will be no disruptions to your services and it is not necessary for you to be at home during the inspection. If you are at home, you can use your taps, toilets and other fixtures as usual.

    Will there be smoke in my house?

    Because smoke will be pumped into the sewer network, in some rare cases smoke may escape from plumbing inside your house. Although the smoke is non-toxic and will simply dissipate after a short while, anyone with respiratory conditions is advised to minimise their contact with the smoke. If you notice smoke in your house from the sewer smoking program, simply open windows and doors to allow the smoke to escape. To minimise the chance of smoke entering your house, please ensure that all toilets in your house have water in the bottom “pan”. If a toilet has not been used for an extended period of time, water in the bottom pan may have dried-up, which may allow smoke to enter your house. In this case please flush the toilet to ensure it has water sitting in it. Otherwise smoke entering your home may indicate defective internal plumbing.

    What should I do if I notice smoke in my house?

    Should you notice smoke entering your home while smoking is underway simply open windows and doors to allow the smoke to escape. This does not mean you should be complacent, as the occurrence of smoke (typical darker coloured) at yours or other homes may still be the result of a fire. Should you have any concerns regarding the occurrence of smoke on yours or other homes please contact Emerald Fire Station Command on 07 4983 7590 or in an emergency please dial 000.

    If you have any questions or concerns, contact Nathan Litzow, Water Infrastructure Planning Engineer via the customer service phone number 1300 242 686.

  • Yamala Enterprise Area - Stormwater management

    Council  engaged ACS Engineers to undertake stormwater drainage master planning for the Yamala Enterprise Area and associated studies. The area is a proposed primary development area and regional transport hub (more info below).

    This plan is intended to provide high level guidance for the design and approval of stormwater management infrastructure for the site.

  • Yamala Enterprise Area - Building Our Regions funding secured

    The Yamala Enterprise Area refers collectively to a parcel of land identified in the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme comprising of 360 hectares of land zoned ‘special industry’ and a further 1640 hectares of land zoned ‘industry investigation’.

    The initial stage involves a major upgrade to the intersection of the Capricorn Highway and Bonnie Doon Road, construction of a 1.5 kilometre rail siding and an upgrade to Bonnie Doon Road for access to the site.

    This infrastructure is a critical enabler to allow the intermodal port to proceed.

    Located 22 kilometres east of Emerald, the area is strategically located to service supply chain operators and producers, maximising existing infrastructure networks with direct access to the Capricorn Highway (via Bonnie Doon Road) and major freight rail network.

    The 360 hectares of land zoned ‘special industry’ incorporates the Louis Dreyfus Cotton Gin, an 8-stand cotton ginning operation, and pending State Government support will feature:
    – An inter-modal freight facility, the CQ Inland Port
    – A state-of-art grain facility and rail siding providing fast 36-hour train cycling time to Gladstone, the ability to handle longer 42 wagon unit trains without shunting wagons and higher capacity wagons in the future, and efficiently handle local grain away from the Emerald urban areas.
    – An initial 11 industrial lots ranging in size from 10,000m2 to 40,000m2

    In partnership with the developers of the CQ Inland Port (CQIP) and GrainCorp, Central Highlands Regional Council has committed to provide extensive support to the development of the greenfield Yamala Enterprise Area.

    Subsequently, council has secured State Government support of $4.415M through Building our Regions Infrastructure Fund, Round 3 to kick start the Yamala Enterprise Area.

  • Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant effluent irrigation extension project - Building Our Regions funding secured

    Funding for the Effluent Irrigation Extension Project has been secured under the state government Building Our Regions funding program will bring the Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant in line with environmental requirements for the discharge of treated waste water.

    Council funded the first stage of this project and will match the $1.2 million in state government funding for stage two.

    We identified two sites whereby treated effluent could be discharged, being the
    areas of the Hunter Street Sports Precinct and the nearby Blackwater Golf Course and adjoining Blackwater Model/Aero/Heli/Car Club.

    Following detailed analysis, we resolved to deliver a two-stage process to meet environmental requirements:

    • Stage 1 (Hunter Street Irrigation System): Includes installation of irrigation systems at the STP and Hunter Street Sports Precinct, storage tanks at Hunter Street and electrical and control works including the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to control effluent pumping to Hunter Street. Award of tender (2016T108C) was approved by council resolution on 14 February 2017 and this project is currently underway. We were the sole funding contributor and will deliver this stage of the project at a cost of $1.4M.
    • Stage 2 (Golf Course Land): Includes the extension of irrigation throughout the
      Blackwater Golf Course and adjoining Blackwater Model/Aero/Heli/Car Club including pipework and trenching, pump upgrades, fitting valves and irrigations sprays and the construction of a high density polyethyelene (HDPE) lining (storage pond) at the Blackwater Sewage Treatment Plant.
  • Central Highlands floodways program - Building Our Regions funding secured

    The Queensland Government have announced $790k in funding for the Central Highlands Regional Floodways Program to improve the resilience of the rural road network.

    Council will match this funding to deliver the project which involves the construction of concrete floodways at twenty four sites in the region to provide safe crossing during wet weather.

    Concrete floodways provide channelised drainage points in which overland run off water may cross the road providing a suitable and safe crossing for vehicles travelling along the network. Thus, these works aim to reduce the time in which residents are impacted and/or isolated during wet weather events.

    Nominated sites have been identified by reviewing digital mapping of previous flood events and locating those which consistently become damaged following rain events. These sites present a recurring issue when considering access for the rural remote community into regional centres.

    Construction works will take approximately four months to complete, and include:

    • Removal of existing pavement at nominated sites
    • Replacement with 30m*8m concrete floodway, inclusive of cut off walls
    • Stabilise 15m approaches on both sides of floodway (full width)
    • Removal of excess material
  • Central Highlands meat processing plant

    The establishment of a meat processing facility near Emerald will enable processing of high quality beef products to supply well-established markets in Australia and overseas.

    Central Highlands Meat Processing Plant Fact Sheet

    Central Highlands Development Corporation is coordinating this project on behalf of council.

  • Works for Queensland program

    More than $2.6 million will help kick off 27 infrastructure projects in the Central Highlands, as part of the Queensland Government’s Works for Queensland program.

    Upgrades to the Emerald Botanical Gardens, improved facilities at Capella’s Bridgeman Park and new playground equipment for Rubyvale are just some of the local projects approved today under the funding.

    Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said the announcement would fast-track these important projects, but also create a big boost for jobs across the region.

  • Building condition assessment data collection

    Contracting firm CT Management Group is conducting an audit and valuation of all council-owned buildings (excluding aquatic centres and housing that has been previously inspected). The inspection will take place between Thursday 1 October and Sunday 1 November, 2020.

Completed projects

  • Emerald Airport runway resurfacing and general aviation upgrades

    As part of a $16 million capital investment in the Emerald Airport, the Central Highlands Regional Council and Boral Asphalt carried out important upgrades to the main runway and general aviation area.

    The works included:

    • Resurfacing the main runway, taxiway and apron bays
    • Reconstructing the general and eastern aviation apron, and the refuelling area
    • Expanding the general aviation apron


    Project schedule

    Runway resurfacing works General aviation precinct works
    PHASE ONE: Pre-construction August to early October 2019 September to early October 2019
    PHASE TWO: Construction Early October to early December 2019 Early October to February 2020
    PHASE THREE: Demobilisation Early December to mid-December 2019 March 2020
  • Emerald Airport runway enrichment project

    Stage one of this project began on 18 March 2017 and was estimated to last three weeks but took longer due to recent weather events.

    It involved removal of the surface and application of a new surface layer on the main runway ‘Taxiway Bravo’ and aircraft parking bays one and two.  This work extends the life of the current main runway, improves safety, quality and compliance and ensures that Emerald airport remains a viable and reliable community asset. The financial outlay for stage one  of the project is approximately $300,000.

    Stage two of the project commenced at the end of 2017. It saw both ends of the runway fully reconstructed at a cost of approximately $4.95M. We have been successful in gaining Queensland Government funding to the value of $2.2M for this project under Building Better Regions Fund.

    The overall project will extend the life of the airport infrastructure, improve quality and safety and confirms council’s ongoing commitment to maintain and grow our vibrant region.

  • Emerald Airport / Gregory Highway intersection - Opened 9 Mar 2017

    These works are now complete and provide better road safety for motorists using the Gregory Highway and the Airport Road. The completed works included widening of the highway at the entrance to Emerald Airport, the addition of turning lanes, additional street lighting and improved road markings.

    The project completes another phase of council’s commitment to improving and upgrading infrastructure throughout the region.

  • Blackwater Aquatic Centre - Opened 4 Mar 2017

    The Blackwater Aquatic Centre is part of the Hunter Street Sports Precinct and was jointly funded by Central Highlands Regional Council, the Australian Government and BMA.

    The centre was officially opened on Saturday 4 March 2017. It features a 50 metre partially covered pool, a 25 metre covered and heated pool, a zero-depth splash pad for the little kids, a community meeting room, kiosk, amenities, a courtyard and covered dining areas.

  • Nogoa River excavation works - Completed 14 Mar 2017

    Approximately 310 000 cubic metres of soil was removed from the Nogoa River around Emerald as part of the river improvement strategy

    Emerald residents said they felt strongly about clearing out the river as a form of flood risk management during a series of public information sessions that the Central Highlands Regional Council hosted last year.

    According to modelling by engineering company KBR, localised flooding reductions of up to 30 centimetres in a flood the size of the 2010-11 event could be expected.

    Media releases:

    Drone footage:

  • New Street Evacuation Route - Opened 15 Dec 2016

    New Street in Emerald was raised to provide the highest and driest access point for vehicles and pedestrians from the area lying south of the railway line into the town centre.


  • Herbert Creek Bridge - Opened 23 Dec 2016

    The three-month project to replace the bridge over Herbert Creek on Boolburra Edungalba Road is now complete, with the road opening to motorists from Friday 23 December 2016.

    The $1.25 million project involved removal of the existing timber bridge and replacing with a concrete structure as well as the stabilisation and resurfacing of the approaches. The new bridge will provide improved flood access for motorists in the Boolburra and Edungalba communities, particularly ahead of the upcoming storm season.

    The project was jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments as part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements in association with Central Highlands Regional Council.

    Watch 3 months work condensed into 2 minutes in the timelapse video below.

  • Sapphire Wetlands Reserve - opened 26 April 2018

    This project developed the wetland reserve into a focused recreation attraction. Works included the construction of new walking trails, wetland viewing areas, bird hide, fencing, educational and directional signage and a new car park.

    The project was funded: $109, 636 by the Australian Government and $157,861 by Central Highlands Regional Council and was officially opened on the 26 April 2018.


  • Gemfields Bounded Locality Project - completed April 2020

    Anakie, Rubyvale and Sapphire are town names officially registered in the Queensland Place Names Register and administered by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) under the Place Names Act 1994 (Qld).

    ‘The Gemfields’ was the bounded locality, officially registered under the Place Names Act 1994 (Qld). A bounded locality is defined by specific physical boundaries that act as reference points.

    This makes bounded localities useful for finding locations used by a variety of organisations and for a variety of purposes including:

    • Emergency services locating call-out sites.
    • GPS devices and Google maps for navigation.
    • Australia Post by linking postcodes to bounded localities.
    • Companies for addressing using geocoding software.

    Anakie, Rubyvale and Sapphire are the three towns within the old ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality.

    This bounded locality was created 20 years ago during a national push to ensure that all of Australia is bounded for location and wayfinding purposes. It is thought to have a connection to the roll out of Telstra’s mobile phone infrastructure at the time.

    Since then, communities within ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality had experienced address related problems that could be associated with the locality itself.

    Problems associated with the bounded locality encompassing the three towns include:

    • Failed and false delivery of mail and freight for people and businesses.
    • Difficulty in locating call-out sites experienced by emergency services.
    • Wayfinding challenges experienced by tourists.
    • Loss of identity, historical heritage and sense of belonging.

    In 2017, Rubyvale Progress Association undertook a petition in Rubyvale and Sapphire seeking to resolve the problems. The petition was submitted to council counting 547 signatures, around 42 percent of ‘The Gemfields’ residents aged 19 and over.

    Project objective

    The Gemfields Bounded Locality project sought the following outcomes:

    1. Validate majority support to dissolve ‘The Gemfields’ bounded locality.
    2. If the mandate exists, develop a proposal for alternative bounded localities.

    It has been identified that the Fairbairn Dam community was both within ‘The Gemfields’ and ‘Gindie’ bounded localities. Similar issues to those experienced in Sapphire, Rubyvale and Anakie had been reported. It was proposed to realign the locality boundaries and move the community into the exiting ‘Emerald’ bounded locality.

    Frequently asked questions

    How will the Willows be affected?

    As there are currently no indications that the problems experienced with ‘The Gemfields’ locality directly impact ‘The Willows’ locality, there are no proposed changes to the bounded locality ‘The Willows’.

    There are known issues with re-routing mail to ‘The Willows’ not intended for that locality that are caused by the lack of names for the Rubyvale, Anakie and Sapphire communities.

    Will the town names be changed?

    No, the town names of Rubyvale, Anakie and Sapphire will not be changed.

    Why can there just be new bounded localities called Sapphire and Anakie?

    There are clear constraints, rules and guidelines for the national register of bounded localities that do not allow the duplication of names.

    Why would there be changes to the Emerald bounded locality?

    The Fairbairn Dam community near Emerald is part of both ‘The Gemfields’ and ‘Gindie’ localities. Similar issues to those experienced in Sapphire, Rubyvale and Anakie have been reported there. There is an opportunity to carry out additional administrative re-alignments within the project.

    Why can’t there be separate postcodes instead or additional to a bounded locality change?

    Problems experienced stem from the bounded locality name, not the postcode. Changes to postcodes are only considered when problems are connected directly to the postcode.

    What will indicate the success of this project?

    Part of the project is a proposed review to determine the overall success and to identify any further actions required.

    October 2019 – Update

    The proposal to change the bounded locality names was published in the Government Gazette on 11 October 2019 by the DRNME.

    Comments on the proposal were invited up until 13 December 2019.

    April 2020 – Update

    The place name decision was published in the Government Gazette on the 17 April 2020.

    The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy issued a media release on the same day.

    The state government will update its mapping and address database and share it with stakeholders that include emergency services and Australia Post.

    It could take up to 12 months before Google updates its system.

    Residents can now use the new locality names as their address to ensure the safe delivery of mail and the timely response by emergency services.

More project information - Central Highlands Development Corporation

Visit the Central Highlands Development Corporation for more information about major projects in the Central Highlands.

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